It is all about first
• The first 45 minutes of meeting
your students establishes how
they will likely perceive the
course and you, the instructor,
for the lion’s share of the
semester. It is best to put in a
good effort for that first class
• It is also the first opportunity to
develop ‘buy-in’, to raise
enthusiasm for the course and
motivate students for the rest
of the semester.
How do we an
• Arrive early, stay after class.
• Have a clear, comprehensive
syllabus to hand out. Review it
• Create an open, respectful
• Send a clear signal about roles in
• Dress appropriately - a little more
formal, especially if you are
younger and/or diminutive.
• Hold class for the entire session -
send a message that every class
session is supposed to be
First day activities
•Review the syllabus and course requirements.
•Icebreaker and introductions.
•Explanation of the course, the textbooks.
•Describe your research and your passion for the subject
Why review the syllabus?
• Sets a professional tone
for the course, creates
ground rules that will
save everyone from
headaches later in the
• Allows opportunities for
clarification if there are
• If it is not reviewed in
class, chances are it will
not be read later.
• What is an icebreaker?
• A quick way to have
people become more
comfortable and become
acquainted with one
another in class.
• A brief social interaction
between instructor and
students and between
Example of an icebreaker # 1
Have students complete a form with spaces for
“something you already know about the subject,”
“something you want to learn,” and “something that
could happen in this class that would make it possible to
learn what you need to learn.” Have each student
introduce her/himself and share something from the
form. Collect their forms to understand, and when
possible, address their needs.
• This activity also acts as a way to gauge student
attitudes to the subject material.
An example of an icebreaker # 2
• Unique Characteristics - Even if the participants already know each
other, the clinical trainer must get to know them. Instead of asking
participants to say their names, the trainer can divide the group into
pairs and give participants a few minutes to interview each other.
Then, each participant should introduce their partners by name and
to share at least two unique characteristics about them.
Why would I want to use an icebreaker?
• Makes the classroom space less alien, more familiar. For
both the students and the instructor.
• Builds an environment that is interactive from day one.
Socializes the students into talking and engaging each
other. The classroom is a place where noise happens.
• Students who know each other are more likely to exchange
ideas inside and outside of the classroom. Remember, the
active classroom is where and when learning best occurs.
• It also allows you to get to know your students.
One thing to keep
Make sure that your
icebreaker fits within the
tone that works best for
Avoid activities that require
activities or anything that
might make anyone
Explain the texts
and give an
overview of the
• This is an opportunity to give the
students some rationale about
why you chose the texts and why
they need to read the texts.
• How do the readings accentuate
what goes on in the classroom?
• If you cannot address the above
questions, chances are your
students will not do the readings
or will read so inconsistently, that
the level of frustration will be high.
Share your passion for the field you in which you work
and your research interests. Enthusiasm is contagious!!!
Sharing your passion for your work with students
• Develops enthusiasm for the course and course content when
students are able to see what is exciting about our work.
• Provides a greater sense of context for students, especially those
unfamiliar with the field. Context will help communicate where the
course fits within a larger discipline of studies.
• Can potentially demonstrate concrete results/applications directly
tied to the course content, something that is not always apparent
even to more seasoned students in the major
• Is an easy and effective way to ‘humanize’ you as the instructor
A survey knowledge on the first day….
• Can be informal raising of hands or a written in-class survey
• An excellent way to get a sense of where your students are,
• pre-knowledge (what do they already know),
• attitudes (what do they think they know),
• expectations (of you, of the course, of each other)
• concerns (problems they see)
• hopes (what they hope to learn, what they want to achieve)
Survey knowledges are
helpful because they:
• give you a head’s up as to what you
can expect of the students, where
you can skip, and where you might
have to spend more time.
• communicate your interest in the
students as learners.
• begin to model the types of thinking
you would like to cultivate in the
• socializes the students into the
discipline by posing typical patterns
of inquiry at the beginning of the
By the end of an effective first class meeting,
• have a good idea of how the course will develop over the
• have a fairly clear understanding about expectations, classroom
protocol and responsibilities.
• have a sense of some familiarity with at least a few people in the
classroom and will have begun to develop a sense of community
• retain the idea that class-time is valuable, pertinent to their personal
development and (hopefully) fun.
• be aware that you care about their learning.
Developed from W. McKeachie, Teaching Tips (San Francisco: Houghton Mifflin,